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I got goosebumps for a moment.
Do you find that if someone hears that dangerous and dubious sounds, they will laugh out loud?
‘Anyway, it’s not normal.’
“Take the saintess to the cathedral. Immediately”
“You shouldn’t let me down this time.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Saintess Irene, I will take care of you.”
At Dame Joan’s words, I hesitated for a moment, but then I was forced to stand up and followed her.
Since this happened, the dark auction was over. I couldn’t even see Rizello; even his shadow was trying to hide, which is why today’s deal was as good as it was.
Before leaving, I looked back at Ian out of courtesy.
“Take care of it well and please come back. Don’t get hurt.”
“Aren’t you gone yet?”
L-look at the way he talks.
In fact, I didn’t even have to worry about it. I saw with my own eyes how that person toppled the incubus in Rycalion.
‘It will be fine.’
It’s only right that I, who should be a burden, leave quickly.
I followed Dame Joan up to the spiral staircase. After I climbed up and looked down, I could see the ballroom in the basement at a glance.
When I looked down, my eyes widened in surprise at what I saw.
When I first opened my eyes, I saw Ian standing there with his sword drawn. On the opposite side, a massive monster was standing in its way.
It would appear that “it” was a monstrous creature after all.
Then, did the man named Boss work together with the cultists?
‘Anyway, that. That’s a horse……?’
The monster that howled at Ian was in the form of a horse. However, it seemed considerably bigger than a real horse in size.
It was such a massive horse that it gave the impression that it could wipe out human beings with a single breath, similar to how one would extinguish a candle.
“Saintess Irene. You must go.”
“Oh. I’m sorry……I’m sorry.”
I apologised and stuttered, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the underground for a moment longer.
Even when confronted with a horse the size of a house, Ian did not show the slightest sign of reluctance. I could see his sword charging at the monster without stopping, even from this distance away.
‘He will be fine.’
Consoling myself, I made fun of my brisk steps again.
“What monster is that?”
“It is a ‘Nightmare’, a monster that drives nightmares, and is a type of dream horse.”
The name evoked in me an unpleasant sense of deja vu. The incubus he defeated in Rycalion was also one of the Dream Demons. Do you think it’s just a coincidence?
When I arrived there in a confused state, the land was already clamorous with the commotion of people fleeing in all directions.
“Get out of my way, get out of my way!”
“Don’t push me!”
At the door, everyone was vying for the opportunity to leave the building first.
The men and women who had been exchanging knowing glances with one another while dressed in stunning gowns and suits have now shoved and cursed each other.
“Get in line! Get in line! It will only be delayed this way!”
“Why don’t you just go ahead and cut in queue like that!”
It took only a moment for everyone to revert to their baser nature when confronted with their instincts for survival.
The sudden explosion obliterated any vestige of aristocratic elegance in the survivors of the catastrophe.
Dame Joan stared at the scene with a hard face and then looked back at me as if she had made up her mind.
“There will be no exit. Please come this way.”
“What? It’s the path that leads nowhere……”
“I will knock the wall down.”
meI was taken aback by the calmness of her voice, and I turned my attention alternately to Dame Joan and the wall. What do you mean, break it?
“H-Hold on a minute. The explosion must have caused some damage to the building, but if you were to knock down that wall, wouldn’t the whole structure fall down?”
Doing so puts the people underground at risk.
In response to my crucial words, Dame Joan shook his head momentarily.
“We’re going to make sure the building isn’t overcrowded. I can use the sword to cut it.”
“Cutting down the wall?”
I stared at Dame Joan in even greater astonishment. For her boss to think she wasn’t, the subordinate was a very embarrassing answer.
It didn’t seem like Lucian was making nonsense when he said that Dame Joan was an outstanding person who had the potential to become a Sword Master in the future.
Dame Joan knocked on the wall as if to confirm. Soon after, a teeny tiny crease showed up in the space between her brows.
“Why, why are you like that?”
“There seems to be something beyond this.”
When I heard Dame Joan’s contemplative voice, I let out a short breath.
What else could there be?
I can’t even begin to count the number of times that I’ve been taken aback just today. There is no more excitement now.
After giving the wall a stern look with her hard face, Dame Joan lifted her right foot and kicked it without pausing for a moment of hesitation.
The kicked wall fell down without being able to hold it up anymore, and another space opened up beyond it.
“It was a fake.”
I peered over the top of the wall with my eyes wide open as I looked into the hidden space there.
On the inside, there were items that raised suspicion, as if to demonstrate that this was a secret space large enough to conceal by erecting a fake wall.
A flask containing bubbling liquid was sitting on the desk, and pentagrams drawn in chalk were scribbled all over the floor, ceiling, and other surfaces in the room.
Anyone who looked around could see that this place was the laboratory of a wicked sorcerer.
“This is where it is.”
After looking inside with a frown on her face, Dame Joan turned her attention to me.
“Madam Irene. I’ll find another exit. Please come this way.”
Dame Joan made an effort to avert his eyes from the scene of the black magic for the time being, acting as if ensuring my safety was the most important thing.
While I stood there dumbfounded, Dame Joan came up behind me. This newly revealed place was suspicious and interesting, but I knew that now was not the time for curiosity.
Even so, I stopped for a moment and couldn’t take my eyes off one place.
“Dame Joan. Wait a minute.”
A bizarre object was brought to my attention as I reached the end of my gaze.
It was the severed head of a goat.
It felt like someone had hit me in the back of the head, and the result was that my entire body became rigid. If you look carefully, you’ll see that the goat is carrying a piece of black chalk in its mouth.
The moment I laid eyes on the bizarre scene, I felt a tremendous amount of dread wash over me.
When you looked more closely, you could see that the goat had drawn on the bottom of the porridge with the chalk that was in its mouth.
Thump, thump, thump. My heart beat fast. My thoughts were all jumbled up because there was a possibility that the answer could be “no way.”
“…… Go to the place where the black line connects.”
“There is no time. You must get out of here.”
“Now do as I say. Please.”
“Madame Irene, I would ask that you return to the cathedral for the time being. If there is anything else that you need done, just let me know and I’ll get it done. But first—”
“Dame Joan! There is no time.”
I asserted myself clearly while simultaneously directing my eyes to follow the path of the black chalk.
I had to concentrate on seeing it because it was buried in the marble pattern, but once I did, I noticed that one of the dark chalk marks continued all the way to the wall on the other side of the room.
“Break down the door over there too!”
My request came out of the blue, which caught Dame Joan off guard. She exhibited a bewildered expression on her face only infrequently.
“This is for Sir Ian. So please hurry up!”
As I urgently urged her, Dame Joan’s eyes flickered nervously. As soon as I pointed my finger in a certain direction, she clenched her teeth and moved in that direction as if she had already made up her mind.
I counted myself extremely fortunate to hold the role of a Saintess of Wisdom. If I hadn’t been considered to have such powers, Dame Joan would have carried me to the cathedral no matter how much I begged her.
When Dame Joan moved to the other side of the wall, she continued to kick the wall in the same manner. Once more, the temporary wall fell, exposing the area that lay beyond it.
I hurriedly looked around and immediately opened my eyes wide.
This time a severed head of a pig lying inconspicuously in the corner. Similarly, it had a piece of black chalk in its mouth.
“A goat and a pig.”
Dame Joan muttered confusedly.
“Next will be a snake.”
I said with confidence.
Goat, Pig, Snake, Scorpion and Toad.
The five animals, which were considered evil in the Rehart Empire, also played a role in the practice of black magic.
After finding the heads of the two different animals, there was no longer a need to search any further. There must have been a hiding place somewhere for the heads of the other three animals as well.
I hurriedly ran outside and looked down into the basement.
The underground area was a scene of utter chaos as the Holy Knights clashed with the demon. With unwavering focus, I gazed upon the scene before me.
‘I can see it.’
The black chalk marks, which I thought were marble patterns, were clearly drawn on the floor.
When I viewed the basement from this vantage point, looking down at it from a distance like this allowed me to see what patterns the lines were drawn gradually.
The chalk lines drawn in black formed an inverted hexagram.
‘……Isn’t that. A magic circle?’
Dame Joan murmured something as though she had also discovered the same thing.
“What on earth is this…… Could it be the remnants of the cultist’s method for calling forth demons?”
“No. This is not a cult.”
It’s the work of Nine.
Nine’s favoured method of performing dark magic involved constructing a six-dimensional magic circle from the severed head of a dead animal.
When the conflict in the original story reached its peak, I had read the episode where Nine’s black magic was activated several times, so there was no way I could get confused.
This building itself was encircled by a massive magical circle that Nine had drawn.
And there, in the centre, right in the middle of the turned six-pointed star, was Ian.
Ian was pushing the monster dreamer, Nightmare. Even though he didn’t even take out the holy sword that was sleeping in the subspace, it seemed that the winner had already been decided.
But instead of feeling relieved, it felt like my heart was going to burst every time it beat.
‘This is a trap.’
The word hit my head.
What if everything was just a trap that Nine had set up?
What if Ian was intentionally led into the magic circle?
I didn’t give it a second thought before blurting out to Dame Joan what sounded more like a scream.
“As a saintess, I will give you an order. Please take me down right now.”
“Please do as I say. Because Ian is in danger!”
Dame Joan’s face hardened at the urgent cry.
Ian had been the target Nine had been targeting for a very long time.
To enchant that one, the entirety of the guild contributed an incredible amount of resources and time.
And by the time the pages of the original work were almost turned over, their efforts finally bore fruit.
Although not in the same way now.
When I thought back to how the results turned out after that, I could feel a shiver run through my entire body.
‘Not right now.’
This is the point before the original work even started. There was not a single main character available who could prevent Ian from becoming enchanted at this time. The heroine still hadn’t made her appearance, and Elliot still hadn’t been baptised at this point.
And neither have I made any preparations to save Ian in any way.
I knew that the original story had started to take an unexpected turn, but I never imagined it would become this convoluted.
However, this was not the time to make any excuses.
If I didn’t save Ian immediately, the magic circle enchantment would take his soul.
‘Like the original content I’ve read over and over again.’
I clamped my teeth together firmly.
I couldn’t leave it alone.
I may not know later on, but not right now.